43)Ice Cube – No Vaseline

Song: No Vaseline

Album: Death Certificate

Year: 1991

For a moment in time (read: every waking moment of his professional career prior to the film Friday), O’Shea Jackson gave off airs of being one of the most dangerous black men in the country. With no real record of being a street tough Ice Cube’s mere scowl and tone put trepidation in society’s heart (mind you, this was before 2Pac took the idea to scary heights of realism), he was generally not the dude you wanted bad blood with.

When fate would find Ice Cube seceding from Hip-Hop’s most confrontational group NWA (I always saw groups like Public Enemy and X-Clan to be political and preaching to the choir, not an insult to them but they weren’t giving voices to frustrated inner city youth), the group’s remaining members took to lambasting his name all over their sophomore LP Efil4zaggin. This was before dirty laundry came to be aired out so casually way it is today, Cube’s response “No Vaseline” and the subsequent Dre & Eazy beef to follow kind of took things from battles stemming from rivaling territories or lyrical supremacy to more personal jabs being taken. I’m sort of in the opinion that there wouldn’t have been a “Hit Em Up” (which largely contributed to the 96-97 period of coastal strife) or a “Takeover” vs. “Ether” were it not for this era of dis records

What I appreciate about “No Vaseline” is Cube kept it damned classy while still coming venomous. One can only surmise he had all types of personal dirt on his old crew but just retaliated by calling them sellouts, amongst the worst things a black man could be called at the time (the “while yall motherfuckers moved straight outta Compton” line was pretty clever for that day and age). The cadence is powerful, he attacked Jerry Heller (the balls it takes to make Anti-Semitic remarks in Hip-Hop to this day are out of this world) and Eazy-E for what he considered to be shady business practices, never threatening anyone with violence as he remarked “I’ll never have dinner with the president, and when I see your ass again I’ll be hesitant”. He explained his point of view on the bad turn things had taken, but on some level didn’t wish bad on his old partners in crime, a true sign of manners.

Not to mention rhyming over the major section of Brick’s “Dazz” like what Ghostface went on to do with soul classics in some of his finer moments, it really didn’t make sense but it was perfect.

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